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K.I.C.A.S. Caliente Reviews

Skylab

REVIEW: Purity Audio K.I.C.A.S. Caliente home headphone amp - with comments on regular KICAS

Posted

Pros: Excellent sound from an affordable solid state amp

Cons: Would be better if there was one model with a "Caliente" switch; I don't like wall warts

I received a PM from Oriel Mendelovitz, who is the founder of Purity Audio, asking me if I would like to review his K.I.C.A.S. headphone amp. It looked to be an attractively made amp, and being a discreet design and not using op-amps, it seemed to be value-priced, so I decided to give it a listen. Information can be found here: Purity Audio The amp is pretty simple – one set of RCA inputs, one ¼ headphone output. It lives in an attractive but not overly fancy metal black case. It uses an outboard “wall wart” power supply, which, all things being equal, I prefer not to see. But the amp is really excellent sounding, and so I ended up being able to forget all about that small...
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12345142

Great amp - what more to say?

Posted

Pros: warm sound while remaining transparent, great bass, simple design, solid build quality

Cons: slightly bland looking, coloration may not suit all headphones

I have had this amp for a few months, and I really enjoy it.   The Caliente (and the KICAS as well, I suppose)  feels like a quality product, which it is. It's true that the amp looks quite bland, but I think it's a nice, "no BS" design that just sits there and does its job. The volume knob turns nice and smooth, and the power switch "clicks" nicely. The housing has a very unified appearance, and feels bulletproof. The amp is powerful enough to drive any conventional headphone.   The sound is what really sets this amp apart, though. The Caliente adds a layer of depth and realism to the soundstage. But by far, the most noteworthy feature of this...
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TheWuss

clean and simple is right

Posted

Pros: compact, powerful, simple design, smooth performance

Cons: wall wart power supply, DIY apearance (alright for some)

The caliente is a really solid entry in its price range for a solid state headphone amp. I would venture to say it performs a bit above its station, at $399 Canadian.   The sound is smooth yet powerful, and the volume knob is just perfectly tuned with the amp.  There's plenty of power on supply, and the amp drives 600 ohm cans without stress.   The Caliente is the "warm" sounding sister amp to the standard K.I.C.A.S. model (stands for "keep it clean and simple").  And i can detect just a hint more warmth and bass impact than perhaps would be there with a neutral amp.  And the sound is all the better for it in my book.   I'm really pleased with this amp, and would recommend...
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JoeDoe

Excellent Desktop Amp that Won't Break the Bank

Posted

Pros: Build quality, sound, power, simplicity

Cons: Simplicity (for some)

The KICAS from Purity Audio is a very clean and capable sounding solid state amp that's been spiced with a touch of tube-esque warmth.    KICAS (Keep It Clean And Simple) says it all. 1/4" headphone out, power switch, a pair of RCA inputs, and AC power input. That's all you get, and the guys at Purity proved that's all you need.   This one has excellent synergy with my Grados as well as the SM64s. The RS1's sound very punchy and dynamic (even more than normal) with sibilance only on poor recordings. Separation is very natural and coherent. This amp may not be the most neutral, but it certainly doesn't do anything weird to the source. Music is presented very naturally...
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attenuated 3db

KICAS - Still close to "SOTA "on a budget though out-of-production

Posted

Pros: Great value on second-hand market

Cons: Not eligible for FOTM status any more

Snared one of these second-hand largely on impulse.  Best (and one of the lesser expensive) impulse I've had on Head-Fi!     The above "review" was a late-night effort when all I was really trying to do was add the KICAS to my equipment list, but Head-Fi automatically pops up a box inviting you to write a review of each item you add to a list, so I tossed off a couple of casual lines and went to bed.  Now I realize that the way Huddler (the software platform that powers Head-Fi) works, this is going to be at the top of "recent reviews" for awhile and be displayed on a good many dynamically-generated pages, so I'll try to expand a bit on the previous effort by...
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homeros8000

KICAS Caliente

Posted

Pros: Nothing specific

Cons: Collapsing soundstage, dark, can't drive many headphones properly

This amplifier didn't drive my ER 4S earphones properly neither my AT M40fs! May be it's a synergy issue, but I'm not sure, at least nobody complained of ER 4S being hard to drive! The sound was too dark for my taste, with a collapsing soundstage (compared to my Onkyo receiver) and very poor extension in the highs and lows but the mids were good. I used it with my Marantz CD5004 connected by Blue Jeans RCA cables and this combination was awful! I guess the dark Marantz is not the best combo with the dark caliente. In the end I think there are many better choices than the KICAS Caliente for the price range of $300. May be it works fine with the AKG K701/2 but never tried it with those...
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Schoenberg

KICAS Caliente

Posted

Pros: extremely simple.

Cons: not powerful enough to drive HD650.

I got it directly from the manufacture in Canada.  The price is above that of its Chinese competitors. The sound quality is OK but not very powerful.  I love the shape of this amp though.
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